Guest Post: What I Saw at America’s Beauty Show 2016 in Chicago

by Braden Jahr | March 18, 2016 | Bookmark +

A note from Holly: For this year’s America’s Beauty Show in Chicago, I was kept busy between doing manicures in the media room and working the CND classroom. This meant I did not have a chance to venture out and see what else was going down at the show. So here’s a recap of the weekend via Braden Jahr, whom you may recognize as the co-host of Nail Talk Radio!


While gearing up for my trip to Chicago I began to reflect on my time spent last year at America’s Beauty Show. Oftentimes the problem with being a nail tech at large trade shows is that the event organizers tend to have nail companies scattered around the show floor. You may be stuck trying to hear the answer to your question over the loud disco beat of the hair booth across the aisle or actually dodging flying cans of hairspray being thrown to the crowd from the huge stages hairstylists are given.

As much as I hate to say it, last year America’s Beauty Show was no exception to this rule. So, suffice it to say I was very excited to hear that they had taken the time to listen to the pleas of a group of concerned nail professionals and created “The Nail Elevation Committee” consisting of Ashley Gregory, Zsanea Hatcher, Tracy Nelson Wilcox, and Diane Diaz. Their mission? To help improve the tradeshow experience for US, the not-so-lowly nail tech!

From the moment I walked onto the show floor I knew it was going to be different. We were greeted by a sign that said, “Welcome to Nails Central,” a special area at the front of the convention center where all of ourfavorite booths were on display!

My morning started early on Saturday with a quick trip to pick up my badge and then I was off to a sneak preview of CND’s newest products which include the incredibly aromatic Spa collection complete with a soak, scrub, masque, and lotion in two distinct fragrances including Gardenia Woods and Bright Citron (which is my personal favorite because it’s so clean and refreshing). In Jan Arnold’s presentation she mentioned that in 1996, when CND launched their Marine Spa line less than 3% of a nail technicians income came from pedicures - that number is now up to 29% which is an astounding increase and just goes to show how fast our industry is evolving and growing! After the launch of the Spa products we were also given the opportunity to use and experience CND’s fun new line of bold, “ready to change” polish called Creative Play (which is available in 80 colors and 10 finishes). For me though, the most exciting news was hearing that CND is bringing back their spa classes. Three cheers for education!

After the presentation, I was lucky enough to be treated to a manicure by the fabulous FingernailFixer herself, Holly Schippers, using Vinylux in Digi-Teal which she then stamped with a technology themed pattern from Bundle Monster. It was super cool and totally me!

The signature logo "mini sweeping C" manicure using #CNDWorld Cuticle Eraser™ The cuticle may be non living but always growing forward and needs treatment. Educate yourself on the true cuticle. #cndgowithapro #cnd #manicure #CreativePlay @americasbeautyshow @cndworld

A photo posted by NailTalk Radio (@nailtalkradio) on

Next on my agenda was attending a presentation by Paul Dykstra, CEO of Cosmetologists Chicago where he announced the creation of a new accreditation and certification program for nail technicians in conjunction with the International Nail Technicians Association led by a committee including Jan Arnold, Doug Schoon, Jessica Vartoughian, Katharin Von Gavel, Lydia Sarfati, Amber Edwards, Lorrene Connor, Trisha Trackman, and Athena Elliott. It’s an exciting new program which has a goal of not only elevating the entire nail care industry, but providing safety and professionalism standards as well. I can’t wait to hear even more about it throughout the coming year as the program is set to launch just in time for America’s Beauty Show 2017!

Finally it was time to hit the show floor for the first time on Saturday morning. The beautiful thing? I didn’t even need the guide book to lead me to each individual booth. All I had to do was walk in, turn right, and there I was, Nails Central! There were so many companies to see and talk to, so many different products to choose from, and some of the best educators from across the country to learn from. My first stop was at the Famous Names booth to learn more about their newest product Cinnatize - a one-step deep cleaning nail surface sanitizer and pathogen remover powered by natural cinnamon leaf extract. I also learned about their new training facility in Las Vegas.  

Beauty truly does change lives! #ShoutYourBeauty #BeautyChangesLives #SoldierField

A photo posted by Braden Jahr (@bradenj21) on

After a quick change into something a bit dressier, Athena, Cate, and I headed off to the Beauty Changes Lives party at Soldier Field. BCL unites and inspires professionals to pay forward their success by mentoring the next generation in our industry, which they call Next Gen. BCL is also instrumental in awarding educational scholarships so that those who may not have been able to can experience the rich and rewarding careers in the beauty and wellness industry. The party itself was to honor Dr. Howard Murad with the 2016 Legacy Award and to celebrate NextGden artists, three of whom you have all come to know and love as this year’s Top 3 finalists in Nails Magazine’s Next Top Nail Artist completion inlcuding Winnie Huang, Sarah Elmaz, and Celina Rydén. That’s right, nails were front and center again! For their last challenge, the Top 3 were asked to create an avant-garde, fashion-forward, set of nails that represented this year’s BCL theme of “Shout Your Beauty” that were worn during the live runway show. Trust me when I say that these nails have to be seen to be believed. You can check out all of the photos here.

After a night of dancing and celebrating all things nails it was time to head back to the hotel to get a few hours of sleep before the second day of America’s Beauty Show started.

Look who #teamNTR found @mhaynam of the @americasbeautyshow show floor.

A photo posted by NailTalk Radio (@nailtalkradio) on

On Sunday morning Nails Central was lit with excitement. The countdown was on and the question that everyone was asking was finally going to be answered . Who was going to be crowned this year’s Next Top Nail Artist? After another busy day of walking the show floor it was time to head over to theWit Hotel’s ROOF Bar. Fun fact: with its stunning views and modern atmosphere, it is listed as one of the Top 3 rooftop bars in the world according to Travel + Leisure Magazine. After sampling the delicious hors d’oeuvres and taking a few fun snaps in the photo booth, the time came to finally find out who the winner was going to be! Winnie? Sarah? Celina? Let me tell you, it was quite the nail biter (no pun intended). I must say that it was truly inspiring to see the level of camaraderie and friendship these three talented ladies developed throughout the course of the NTNA competition, You could clearly tell that they were all there to support each other and we all knew that no matter who won the title of Next Top Nail Artist they would all remain friends! 


NAILS Magazine’s senior editor Beth Livesay and CND’s Jan Arnold did a fantastic job of hosting the award ceremony and we were all so happy for Winnie when she was announced as this year’s winner.See the rest of the photos at Nails Magazine’s NTNA Grand Finale gallery here

And just like that it was Monday and time to say goodbye to America’s Beauty Show for another year  ...but not before a slice of Lou’s famous Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza for the road!


-Braden Jahr 


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